The Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen saved the best for last. Both in terms of the trails and the result for the champions, the Bulls Heroes and Faces CST. The men’s yellow jersey wearers further secured their grip on the First Ascent leaders’ jerseys by racing to third on the day; behind their support team and the stage winners, Cannondale Factory Racing. While the women’s race winners secured victory the hard way, winning the stage in fine fashion.
Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill started the day 37 seconds behind the overnight leaders, Jennie Stenerhag and Nadine Rieder. The Faces CST team thus had to go on the offensive early on. After pushing the pace in the first singletrack they made the race winning break in the famous Houdenbek trails.
“We pushed hard to get into the Houdenbek singletracks first” Lill explained. “Then we could control the pace and rely upon our cross-country punch and skills to get a gap on the rest of the women’s field. At the second water point Darren [Lill] told us we had a 50 second lead. The next time we saw him it was two minutes. But we just kept pushing, because I remembered puncturing in the last 10 kilometres of the stage, here, in 2018.”
Faces CST’s stage win – in a time of 3 hours, 25 minutes and 32 seconds – was enough to secure them the overall victory by 2 minutes and 14 seconds. “Taking the win is really important” Lill continued. “It secures us both a good few UCI points which will help towards our Olympic qualification bid. Part of the plan behind Mariske [Strauss] and myself teaming up was to work towards securing two Olympic slots for South Africa.”
Jennie Stenerhag and Nadine Rieder had to be content with second position on the stage and on the final general classification standings. They would reflect on untimely punctures, which ultimately cost them dearly on Stages 1 and 3. “Mariske and Candice were the strongest riders today” Stenerhag graciously allowed. “They are deserved winners.”
Robyn de Groot and Adelheid Morath finished third on the stage and rounded out the final overall podium. “Once we saw that we could not catch Faces CST or Fairtree, today, we slacked off” De Groot recounted. “The season is long and while we learnt a lot from the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen we recognised that our energy could be better spent later in the year.”
Results | Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen
Stage 4 | Women:
Faces CST: Mariske Strauss & Candice Lill (3:25:32)
Fairtree: Jennie Stenerhag & Nadine Rieder (3:28:15 | +02:43)
dormakaba blue: Robyn de Groot & Adelheid Morath (3:34:21 | +08:49)
General Classification after Stage 4 | Women:
Faces CST: Mariske Strauss & Candice Lill (12:47:44)
Fairtree: Jennie Stenerhag & Nadine Rieder (12:49:50 | +02:14)
dormakaba blue: Robyn de Groot & Adelheid Morath (12:56:29 | +08:45)
Devonbosch Vertice GTR: Ariane Lüthi & Lia Schrievers (13:20:09 | +33:25)
GB Cycling Team: Annie Last & Isla Short (13:26:14 | +39:30)
For the full results from 2020 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen visit www.tankwatrek.co.za.